Over the past few decades, The Parker Avery Group has worked with dozens of retail and consumer goods organizations in developing and implementing new business processes, organizational designs, and supporting systems. All of these efforts demanded select business areas or all of the company to change. Some of the initiatives were highly successful; however, others did not realize the expected results and benefits.
Whether initiated by new technology, redesigned operational processes, or modifications to an organization’s roles and responsibilities, new ways of working represent change. And change is difficult, even for the most experienced teams.
Many executives wrestle with the notion of organizational change management (OCM). For starters there is always the underlying question: can change really be managed? Change involves people (as in adults) who behave unpredictably and usually prefer to make their own decisions. Secondly, businesses are indefinitely in a state of change, especially retail, so should we expect one team or function to own the expertise for navigating it? Some would argue change management is a core competency every manager and leader needs. Lastly—OCM is perceived to have an abysmal failure rate, which may prove the point that change cannot be managed. But, as an organizational change professional, that’s not a popular opinion to espouse.